A bending machine is a forming machine tool (DIN 8586). Its purpose is to assemble a bend on a workpiece. A bends is manufactured by using a bending tool during a linear or rotating move. The detailed classification can be done with the help of the kinematics.
Recent CNC bending machines are developed for high flexibility and low setup times. Those machines are able to bend single pieces as well as small batches with the same precision and efficiency as series-produced parts in an economical way.
Universal Bending Machines
Universal Bending Machines consists of a basic machine that can be adjusted with little effort and used for a variety of bends. A simple plug-in system supports quick and easy exchange of tools. The basic machine consists of a CNC-operated side stop, a work bench, and software for programming and operating. Its modular construction offers an affordable entry into the bending technology, because after an initial investion the machine can be customized and extended later on without any conversion. That mean the basic machine delivers a bending stroke, the tool determines the kind of bending.
In the case of bending tools they are classified by the kind of generated bends. They can be constructed to adjust the bending angle by reference, stroke measurement or angle measurement. CNC machines usually abstain from a reference part. They grant a high bending accuracy starting with the first work piece.
All bends without an extraordinary geometry belong to standard bends. The distance between a bend and the material end is quite high providing an adequate bearing area. The same with one bend to the next. Typical tools are a so-called bending former combined with a prisms with electronic angular measurement or an ordinary prism.
For U-bends where tight and narrow bends are necessary, the bending former is replaced by a bending mandrel. A bending mandrel has a narrow geometry.
Offset bending tools are used to assembly two bends with a small distance between in one step.
Edge bending tools are used, if the bending axis is placed parallel to the tight side of the work piece. Tools for bending on edge may include electronic angular measurement allowing a high bending accuracy.
Torsion tools are able to rotate the workpiece on the longitudinal axis. Alternatives are complex assembly groups with standard bends.
Programming is done on a PC equipped with dedicated software, which is part of the machine or connected to an external workstation. For generating a new program engineering data can be imported or pasted per mouse and keyboard. Through a graphic and menu-driven user interface previous CNC programming skills are not required. The software asks for all necessary values and checks all figures. Inputs can be corrected at any time and minimum distances are checked instantly to guard against improper inputs. The software automatically calculates the flat length of each part being bent and determines the exact position of the side stop. The part is shown on a screen. Ideally each program is stored in one database, in this manner it is easy to recover them by search and sort functions.